How Is Color Consistency An Important Factor For Dairy Industry?

Reviewed by Anurag Mishra (Sr. Technical Consultant)

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The dairy industry is no more same the way it used to be. With the advancement in medical science, the cows are made to produce more milk by providing them supplements. Their fodder is now loaded with essential nutrients that are important for increasing the milk supply of cows and buffaloes. The color of milk is the repercussion of what these cows are eating. Their meal impacts a lot on the whiteness of the milk and subsequent products.

Those who are not aware of all the sciences behind may doubt the quality of milk. To cut out these doubts, milk processing companies started using additive to enhance the color quality. This is when food safety regulatory authorities come in. To control the use of color in dairy products, Food safety regulations have issued many guidelines. So, now it’ not just farmer’s concern but the whole milk processing unit should employ strategies to control color quality of dairy products. 

How Color of Dairy Impacts The Buying Decision of The Consumer?

Let’s not get into milk products yet. The color of milk directly impacts the buying decision. If there is unusual color, the buyer would doubt it’s quality and this overall impacts the reputation of the brand. Due to competitiveness in the market and rate of rising adulteration, it takes a lot to convince the buyer to go with your brand and a minor discrepancy can ruin all that. The second impression it gives about the spoilage of the milk. If it is off-white, it might be spoiled by now.

Why Is Color Measurement Important?

Despite storing in the refrigeration temperature, there can be a reproduction of the psychotropic bacteria that spoil the milk. This can lead to the acidification of stored milk and lead to change in color. Now a milk processing company or retailer cannot open every packet to check the sanity, computerised color testers can be employed to do this job easily. Devices like colorimeter and spectrophotometer can easily capture the snapshot of the master color. It then compares the master with the sample.

To judge the color difference by naked eyes requires a lot of practice and experience. However, in sever cases, visual inspection can do the job. Not everyone is trained enough to leverage their experience, this is why for novice operators, color measuring devices are a saviour. In fact, in the case of early stage discoloration, the quality managers have to use powerful devices, else there would be inaccurate quality analysis.

Spectrophotometers are becoming a popular choice of milk producers and processors. These devices can quantify the color and quickly establish a standard for samples. This helps in analysing the milk processing companies to determine any color difference due to environmental effects during transportation.

How color measurement help in managing the quality of subsequent products?

Milk is used further for making cheese, cottage cheese, curd, butter milk, butter and so on. The dairy range is very wide and every product has its own quality management factors. The color of milk at first step impacts the complete range of subsequent products. Butter churned out from off-white cream will naturally have off white color, instead of bright white. So, this is a chain reaction and passes on to every next step. Instrumental color testing is imperative at the very first step of the processing.

Different Color Testing Devices Used In Dairy Industry

Spectrophotometer : Testronix offers 2 intelligent models of a Spectrophotometer TP 800 and TP 810. The device operates on the simple principle of spectroscopy. When light falls on an opaque surface, it reflects the light. TP 800 and TP 810 measures the reflected illuminance as per the certain wavelength interval. A group of sensors performs the easy analysis and present the quantified data on the screen. The output is obtained in the form of ΔE in which L X a X b can be observed. Also, the operator can see the spectral reflectance curve to realise the color matching parameters and the analyse the real factors.

Colorimeter : This device again quantifies the colors but with a different principle. It measures the absorbance of particular wavelengths of light. The aperture of the device is a very important parameter in the accuracy of the device. The larger the aperture is, the better the observations are. Testronix offers multiple models of a colorimeter, TP 600CP, TP 110, TP 310 and TP 20XE are popular models. With variable apertures, it gives the operator a freedom of choosing the right model as per the industrial requirements.

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